Stein & Mari inhabit a musical plane of their own, rooted in the blues of the 20s and 30s with branches into smooth jazz, electronic impro-noise, atonal rock and metamorphosed Norwegian traditional music; everything in an effortless mélange that one would think they had been doing this for much longer than since the middle of 2000 when the duo met.
After various projects and collaborations in clubs and festivals throughout Norway, they have lately spent their time working on their own songs, with a debut under the present name at Bergen NattJazz in 2009.
The sounds the duo display are truly diverse, but are seamlessly woven together to form new musical spaces that are simulataneously familiar and strange. Tracks like Lilletrollet and Explorer's Club Annual Dinner have elements of tribal music, plodding steadily through imaginary jungles of sonic wash and swirl, shot through with glitches and moments of electronic disruption. Hints of pop music come and go, and in tracks like Sleeping in the Bush and Paradoxes, these creep through landscapes of Ambient Americana, trading stumbling guitar lines with the ghosts of Delta bluesmen and modern successors like Ry Cooder. We're so Many and Don't Mind carry through on the atmospheric pop promises, while the former carries echoes of early Jane's Addiction in childlike sing-song melodies that fall into a tape machine breakdown (without the tape machine!) Voss displays a classic Ambient country expanse, with hints of tundra as well as red sand and hoodoo formations, echoing Cooder once again, and with perhaps a tip of the hat to Norwegian guitar great, Knut Reiersruud.
Stein Urheim received the Vossajazzprisen in 2010 for the presence of his work on the Norwegian jazz and contemporary music scene, an award
Mari Kvien Brunvoll received the following year for her solo project with voice and electronics that has been performed extensively throughout Europe for the past few years.
"Musically, it ranges from noise to country and the transition from one to the other sounds like the most natural in the world. The duo manages to create a good and relaxed atmosphere and combine it with a perfect control of buttons and strings. There is a party in the house when Stein & Mari is visiting!" (Lars Mossefinn, Jazznytt, 2010)